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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Arrest in Spain of Alleged Key GSPC-Al Qaeda Terrorist

By Andrew Cochran

Spanish authorities have announced the arrest in Catalonia of a Moroccan, Mbark El Jaafari, who was wanted in his home country for allegedly sending suicide bombers to Iraq. If the allegations surrounding Jaafari are true, it would represent an important arrest of a key operative. Jaafari is alleged to belong to GSPC, the Algerian-based terrorist group now pledged to Al Qaeda, for which he allegedly sent 32 suicide bombers to launch attacks in Iraq, with other operations planned in Morocco. He is also thought to trained in Al Qaeda's Afghanistan camps in 2001 before the U.S. cleaned them out. For Jaafari to have been arrested in Spain is extremely troubling, indicating possible plans to carry out attacks there and in Europe and a network of supporters and sympathizers sufficient to support his presence there.

CT Blog Contributing Experts have posted breaking news and analysis on GSPC's terrorist activities and transformation. Evan Kohlmann announced that GSPC had changed its name to "Al-Qaida in the Land of the Islamic Maghrib" in his post here on January 26. On January 17, Lorenzo Vidino of The Investigative Project on Terrorism analyzed the dismantling by the Tunisian government of a serious GSPC plot to attack Western interests, and Lorenzo noted, "As it often happens when the GSPC is involved, the Tunisian cell had strong ties to Europe." On January 11, Evan Kohlmann disclosed a new statement from GSPC leader Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud titled, "We are Coming," inviting bin Laden's instructions. Olivier Guitta discussed the GSPC European network in his post on December 11, and Evan Kohlmann posted on that same day on GSPC's claim of responsibility for the nurder of Western contractors in Algeria.
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